Happy New Year! I hope you have had an enjoyable break and are well rested.
I say that because Access Matters Aotearoa need all hands on deck to reshape the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill into something that truly will improve the lives of all New Zealanders.
You’ve told us that the Bill in its current form is extremely disappointing!
Social Services & Community Committee
The Social Services and Community Select Committee needs to actively listen to your oral submission. Many decision makers are not aware of, and don’t understand, the barriers that people with access needs face every day. They don’t seem to appreciate the urgency to remove barriers. The only way to get the change needed is to educate our politicians and help them understand what really matters, when it comes to implementing a new law to improve accessibility.
If decision makers don’t know what it is like to live with disability, or to have an access need, then they won’t know what we are talking about in relation to improving the Bill. Without education and understanding we can’t drive change. Your voice has never been more important than it is right now in this crucial debate!
Politicians, for whatever reason, seem to want to keep our expectations low. They need to know that, as your representatives in parliament, you have high expectations of them!
Help Our Political Leaders to Understand
You can help right now to ensure our politicians understand why it’s critical to do a lot more to improve the human rights, dignity and inclusion of New Zealand’s biggest minority: the 24% of Kiwis living with a disability.
Time is of the essence. We currently have a small window in which to shape Aotearoa New Zealand’s accessibility legislation, for the future. Your input is vital.
Please write to and visit Hon Poto Williams, Minister for Disability Issues - and your local MP and election candidates - to urge them to not to squander this opportunity.
At the very least, the Government must include accessibility standards in the Bill. We don't need to reinvent the wheel. It would be straight forward to adapt the Australian Disability Standards for use here. This step would mean quicker progress to achieve an inclusive and accessible Aotearoa New Zealand.
Here’s a comparison to show you how the current accessibility provisions of Auckland’s Spark Arena would look if the Australian Disability Standards were applied in Aotearoa New Zealand.
To assist to get a meeting with the Minister for Disability Issues or your local MP, please use our handy template letters in the Resources section of the Access Matters Aotearoa website. The campaign team is also on hand to help you. To make the most of your meeting with the Minister and/or your MP we have also provided a tool kit of handy tips.
Remember to sign and share our petition calling on the Government to expand the scope of the Accessibility for New Zealanders Bill.
David Lepofsky, our international expert on accessibility law, visited Aotearoa New Zealand in 2017 and again in 2019 to support our campaign. He is an acclaimed Canadian Accessibility Advocate and legal expert, and a long-time supporter and catalyst for the Access Matters campaign. I’m delighted to announce that David will visit Aotearoa New Zealand again from 13 – 27 February. He will run a masterclass for campaigners on practical tactics to advance disability rights. More details to come – watch this space!
I am also pleased to announce that Jan Logie MP will receive the Access Matters Aotearoa petition at Parliament on 22 February. Access Matters Aotearoa is working hard to get more people to sign the petition. Time is of the essence. Please encourage your friends, family, whānau and colleagues to sign the petition. I hope as many campaigners as possible will be able join us at the petition presentation. More details to come – again, watch this space!
Passionate Future-Focused Campaigners
The Access Matters movement consists of passionate future-focused people like you, who want a better future for our kids and mokopuna. Our collective skills and experience are needed now more than ever.
Access Matters Aotearoa
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